Malaysian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton ends his Malaysian drought after leading Mercedes one-two

It was Mercedes' first one-two since they returned to Formula One as a works team in 2010

Sepang International Circuit

In seven attempts Lewis Hamilton had never won in Malaysia, but he put that right eighth time around in the most emphatic manner on Sunday with a perfect performance to trounce his Australian GP-winning Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel got his points score off the ground for the season too, but his was a very distant third place for Red Bull, nearly 25 seconds behind the winner.

Hamilton graciously  responded to the minute’s silence on the grid prior to the start by dedicating his success to those still missing on Malaysian Airlines’ MH370 flight. Later, reflecting on the race, he said: “I’m incredibly happy to win for the first time here. Finally we got it. It’s also special to get a one-two, because there haven’t been many of them in my career.

“I don’t think any race is ever easy, but obviously opportunities present themselves and you have to take them in both hands, and that’s what I did. I had to look after the car and the fuel and not make any mistakes, while reacting to what Nico did without damaging the tyres. It was a great challenge but I was able to do that well, as the car was spectacular this weekend.”


There were only two moments in the 56-lap race when a Silver Arrows one-two came under threat. The first was at the start. As Hamilton lit off from the pole position that had brought his tally of them to 33 – equal to that of Britain’s best qualifier, the great Jim Clark – Rosberg got great traction and was alongside Vettel as the second-placed German moved ever closer to the pit wall.

Malaysian Grand Prix - as it happened

 “It was close!” Rosberg said. “It’s not easy to make starts in these new cars but I made a great one. Then I thought that Seb was going to put me in the wall but he just stopped short. I admit that my heart skipped a beat but I kept right on it and it wasn’t that bad. Then I had a bit of a tank-slapper in turn three and that gave everyone another run on me, but fortunately it all worked out.”

As Hamilton immediately pulled away in one of the most dominant drives of his career, Rosberg lost ground as he struggled with his rear tyres in the searing heat. “The track was poor and I was sliding around so much, with the rear tyres especially,” Rosberg admitted. “But in any case Lewis was a bit quicker today.”

The other moment of anxiety came as Vettel began a charge and closed in dramatically at mid-distance. By the 34th lap he was within 0.7sec and appeared ready to strike, but Rosberg had things under control and eventually pulled away to finish 7.2sec clear. “Seb was pushing me, but I had some pace in hand,” he revealed. “But the way they’ve ramped theirs up at Red Bull is impressive.”

Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton pose on the podium Nico Rosberg (left) and Lewis Hamilton pose on the podium Vettel, in turn was impressed, by the scale of the Mercedes mountain he needs to climb. “I had a really good race, the first race distance I’ve actually done since Brazil last year,” he said. “I thought I had a good start until I saw Nico to my right. I’d been focusing on how I could tow up to Lewis and challenge him in the first corner, and then suddenly Nico was there and Daniel [team-mate Ricciardo] was coming too. Later I tried to get as close as I could to Nico and we seemed evenly matched, but then he found another gear and was pulling away and I just tried to get the car home. Probably we could all have gone a little faster but in the end our priority was to secure the podium.”

That, and to save some fuel in the closing stages, as instructed by his team.

“Congratulations to them,” Vettel said of Mercedes. “They did a very good job and looked seamless in winter testing and the package they have is very, very strong. These guys are bloody quick! But we are here on the podium and much better than what we at some stage expected during the winter. The question now is time and how soon we can catch up and give them a hard time.”

Red Bull should have had fourth place too for Ricciardo, who led Vettel initially after some tough wheel-to-wheel intra-team racing. The Australian, who finished second on the road in Australia before being disqualified for fuel flow irregularities, had dropped back nearly 10sec by the time his race went awry during his pit stop on the 40th lap. He stopped as soon as he realised that his left front wheel had been improperly secured and was wheeled back to the Red Bull garage to have the wheel fitted properly. He was then given a 10sec stop-and-go penalty because the team had released his car unsafely.

In between the bodged stop and the enforced one he had to make another after breaking his front wing by running over a steep kerb in turn 14 and damaging the right front tyre.

Ricciardo’s misfortunes promoted Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to fourth place, 11.4sec behind Vettel, after he had made the best use of fresh tyres and a three-stop strategy to catch and pass the yet again impressive Nico Hulkenberg, who made it through on two stops to score points again for Force India.

Sixth place was the subject of heated battle between Jenson Button and the Williams drivers. Early in the race Williams told Valtteri Bottas not to challenge his team-mate Felipe Massa as the Brazilian fought Button. But in the closing stages, when Bottas was faster because he had fresher tyres, Massa caused ill feeling within the Grove team when he refused a team instruction to let the Finn overtake. They thus finished behind the McLaren, when the team were convinced they should have beaten Button.

None of that mattered to Hamilton. Happy that forecast rain never materialised beyond a few drops mid-race, he savoured his success as he ticked another career box and moved to 18 points behind Rosberg in the drivers’ table.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style